Your Mileage May Vary


This thread is to discuss devices, techniques, and strategies to enhance the sound of your HiFi system. Not necessarily upgrading to better DACs, amps, speakers, or headphones (although this may be a more cost effective way to get better sound). This thread is about the “add-on” devices such as linear power supplies, isolated power circuits in your house, power filters, power cables; digital streamers, galvanic isolators, re-clockers; RCA, XLR, SPIDF, USB, etc. cable upgrades; up sampling, or converting to DSD; weights to reduce microphonics; cable management to separate power from signal; or any other enhancement you can come up with. Even some snake oil is welcome here!

Remember, YMMV! If someone hears a difference and is having fun, please don’t rain on their parade!


One of the most effective changes I’ve made to my system is cleaning up the power. I’ve always wanted a dedicated power feed from my breaker panel to my listening chair. But that cost money, and given my inability to show self control on the buying/selling thread I don’t have much of that left over. So I implemented a poor man’s dedicated power feed: I mapped out which outlets in my house are on each circuit, specifically those connected to my office where I listen.

I now know if I want really quite power which devices in my house to turn off. I also found a way to put some noisy devices such as my computer on a different circuit (connected to the next room in my house). When I turn off everything that is on the same circuit as my audio gear (which requires careful negotiation with the family to turn everything off) I can hear a significant improvement sound stage. Everything sounds better separated and the depth is more layered. The difference is subtle, but very noticeable.


How did you figure out which devices were causing the noise? Randomly unplugging them, or did you figure out a more sophisticated approach?

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It was scientifically unscientific :slight_smile:

I’m certain there are better ways to do this, but my quick and dirty approach was to turn lights on in every room in the house. I then turned off each breaker, one at a time to map which room was on each breaker. (also cleaned up the labels in my breaker panel at the same time, the existing labels were way off)

For the room I really cared about (aka my office) I plugged something into each outlet to see if it turned off/on on the same breaker (that’s how I found one outlet that was connected to the next room, so I use that one for everything non-audio that I want turned on while listening, aka my computer). I also found that the bathroom next to my office is on the same breaker, so I have to turn off the bathroom fan to get my noise floor as low as possible :rofl:

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Two things that I’ve done recently are using HQplayer with Roon to upsample music sent to my dac (adi-2). I’ve been having a hard time hearing the differences with this tweak but I do think I’m hearing better separation and imaging in most tracks. Also changing the filters seems to alter that tonality a bit which is interesting. Also I’ve been using a raspberry pi endpoint to separate my audio system from my gaming pc. This gets rid of the noise that was coming from my pc resulting in a smoother sound to the music. I was using an Allo Digione Signature but had a hardware issue with that so am waiting for a pi2aes to arrive

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I’m a big fan of network streamers! I hear a significant improvement over USB. I’ve not tried the pi2aes yet, but it’s high on my list to try next. Right now I’m running a poor-man’s network streamer (that has grown out of control): Google Chromecast Audio… with an iFi 5V iPower supply… and a iFi SPDIF iPurifier2… Sounds great! And for less money I could have just bought a pi2aes! :thinking:

That’s the danger of this thread! The add-ons can add up fast and become more costly than a core component upgrade. Oh well, having fun :beers:


Here is where I get confused. You are using HQPlayer WITH Roon? Isn’t Roon already a high quality player? How do you integrate the 2?

BTW, this HQPlayer looks like quite the program. I’m curious now!

I am starting to examine foundational elements as well, and am currently attacking the power delivery side of things using the Ifi AC Purifier, as you may have read in the “What Did You Buy Today” thread.


Right now I have one module inserted in the 1st socket of the strip. They show this as the second device but I don’t need to separate anything electrically, I have already physically done that. I plan on getting a second purifier and inserting it in the 3rd position to enhance purification even deeper.

The other thing I did was separate power from signal cables. Happily, these efforts have produced positive results. Next up will be the USB Re-Locker followed by replacing the Ethernet cabling that feeds the PC. That way I have addressed every point of access!

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I think the key to noticing the differences also requires the understanding that the differences will be subtle…noticeable to those that have good critical listening skills. I myself was a skeptic until I encountered some hum on a previous tube amp that I owned. I ended up buying a relatively cheap Furman Power Conditioner and the hum definitely decreased significantly. It didn’t fix the hum entirely, but it eliminated enough of it for me to consider it a worthwhile purchase.

When it comes to cables, once again the differences are subtle. As a one time huge skeptic, I used to think such things were snake oil. But then I started thinking about my Bass Guitar and amp. A good cable has improved the noise floor and blackness and tone of my bass guitar in the past, so why wouldn’t that be true for audio and headphones?

The thing that makes this a polarizing subject is that it involves subjectivity. But in addition to that, some people may not have the proper tier headphones and gear to hear the difference. Case in point, when I purchased some audioquest rca cables, I didn’t notice a difference with my Asgard 3/Modius stack…but I could tell a difference with my Soekris dac1321/Violectric HPA V200 stack.

Again I will reiterate that the differences are subtle and nuanced and can be easily missed if one isn’t paying attention or doesn’t have the best critical listening skills.

One last thing I will say is that these subtle differences and whether or not the cost of cables /power conditioner/etc. is worth it or not, can only be decided based on what you yourself are hearing and whether or not you have the money to spend on these items without causing yourself hardship. Those are all things that are uniquely personal, and whether or not one is a skeptic or a believer has no bearing on each individuals own experiences and monetary situation.

Last thing I will say to the hardest skeptics is that even if it is placebo, if one is willing to shell out the money for these placebos, that shouldn’t impact you or affect you. So let’s all agree that as long as one enjoys their gear and headphones, that is all that should matter. After all, nobody has to live with my headphones and gear other than me.


I’m very curious to hear your results with the iFi AC Purifiers over time. I experimented with these about 6 months ago and ultimately abandon them (thank you Amazon return policy). When I first added them I perceived a big improvement, everything seemed to be more clear, like a thin haze was taken off the music. So I ended up using two: one in the wall and one in my power strip. After about 3 weeks of use I removed them both just to see how big of a difference I could hear, and to my surprise the music sounded “more exciting” without them. My sense was that the AC Purifiers were causing the music to sound softened, not as punchy. I was using them with an Asgard 3 amplifier, so perhaps it had to do with an interaction with that particular amplifier power supply? Whenever I see these I’m tempted to try them again. I’m looking forward to hearing your impressions over time.

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Well said! In fact, I’ve come to embrace my placebo effect. When my listening space is clean and well organized, when my equipment is evenly stacked (nice and symmetrical), I would sware the music sounds better. I know it doesn’t, but I enjoy it more. So I just go with it.


So that is interesting. My first thought as I was reading your post was “why would I want to remove the filters if it improved the sound?” Well, we are back to a perceived state of being, aren’t we? By applying this power “filter” we have changed how the net product presents to the ear, the human sensor. Fascinating. Like changing the filter of the DAC from fast to slow, and so on.

Well then, on May 10th I may just pull those filters and see what happens! Depending on how long the re-locker has been in the chain. I still don’t have that piece. If it doesn’t get here much before then, I will not install it until after the experiment.

For reference, I was not battling any sort of audible noise issue. This was initiated more as a pre-emptive measure. But then the results of the purifier install presented themselves, and here we are!

Yes Roon is a “high quality player” but the software HQplayer serves as an endpoint for Roon and the integration of the two is built into Roon. HQplayer performs upsampling on the music and allows you to select filters that affect the sound of the upsampled music.

In Roon’s settings you can enable HQplayer which creates an endpoint in the endpoint selection menu. You tell it the IP of the machine that’s running HQplayer and then you can output to the software. So just to be clear, when using HQplayer with Roon the chain looks like Roon → HQplayer → Raspberry pi (in my case) → dac. Hopefully this answers your question, but let me know if there’s anything you still want me to explain a bit more

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This is helpful, I didn’t quite understand how HQplayer worked either.

Does HQplayer run on the roon core? or on another computer?


I run HQplayer on my gaming pc as it can use a lot of resources especially for dsd upsampling. I’ve only been upsampling pcm though so I haven’t noticed much of an impact on my system. You could probably do it on the same computer as the core unless you’re doing the way I am which is with Roon ROCK running on a dedicated pc. Rock is a lightweight linux distro (I think) without a UI so you can’t really do anything else on that computer unless it’s running in a vm or container or something along those lines.

I was surprised to see that Roon could communicate with HQplayer regardless of where it is on the network and send the music where it’s needed. Also in the settings for HQplayer you can choose where to send the music. One option is network adapter and that will look for devices that can receive the upsampled music. On the raspberry pi, which I’m running Ropieee XL, I had to go in to the settings and enable HQplayer and then it showed up in the HQplayer settings.

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Speaker positioning. Biggest bang for the buck possible.


I got an ifi isilencer+ and noticed an instant difference. Noise floor dropped significantly regardless of what dac I used. I expected to have to abuse amazons return policy because I was absolutely sure it was snake oil. I felt like an idiot after I plugged it in and it was everything they claimed lol. Now if you have a ridiculously clean source (I was just using my pc with an msi x570 unify motherboard) then your mileage may vary, but in my case it was a wholly good experience and I highly recommend them.


A recent tweak I made that had a subtle but noticeable effect was disconnecting the single-ended (RCA) output from my DAC when using the balanced outputs. I’m using a Soncoz LA-QXD1 (so not high end by any means). The single-ended output just uses half of the balanced output. It does not have its own separate output stage. So by using both single-ended and balanced at the same time you loose some of the inherent noise rejection in the balanced output. Not a huge issue, but I do here a difference when I disconnect the RCA output and just use the XLR balanced.


wait till you hear from @M0N and how much his audio poop helped his speaker sound! :smiley:


This is the YMMV thread - no judgment here! But please wash your hands after handling the “audio poop”, we don’t want to start spreading anything around :joy:

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